The theme of the day is pizza. Down in the Lower East Side on Grand, there is a pizza school Pizza a Casa which teaches 10 people at a time to make dough using ordinary ingredients (none of your “must have 00 flour” brigade here) in ordinary home ovens. I realised that ordinary in the US is slightly less hot than ordinary in the UK, but not to worry.
Apparently it’s a piece of cake. Or perhaps pie. We had a fantastic tutor Neil, and some handy helpers in Max and Mike, who honestly had answers for every single question even the most obscure. The temperature of the water, the effect of humidity in the kitchen, an explanation of gluten, freezing dough, fixing holes, and the correct order in which to place toppings. Fascinating.
We sampled 4 pies made by Neil, a margarita, a pizza Bianca with ricotta and lemon zest, a basil and sundried tomato pie, and a rosemary potato pie which I will be making at home. I chose to make a New York sausage pie, one with ham, mushrooms and ricotta, a pizza Bianca, and a banana nutella pizza. I tried all of them, but hit a pizza wall and brought over ¾ of each pie home. I know what I’ll be eating for breakfast for the next few days!
Also, having reheated some of the pizza when I got home, I can verify that New Yorkers do in fact use their ovens so infrequently that their primary purpose is storage.